Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Forde, Thomas (d.1582)

FORDE, THOMAS (d. 1582), catholic divine, was born in Devonshire and educated at Trinity College, Oxford, where he obtained a fellowship. He proceeded B.A. 13 May 1563, and commenced M.A. 14 July 1567 (Boase, Register of the Univ. of Oxford, p. 251). On being converted to the Roman catholic faith he went in 1570 to the English College at Douay. In March 1572-3 he was ordained priest at Brussels, with Richard Bristow [q. v.] and Gregory Martin, these being the first three alumni who were presented for holy orders from Douay College. He took the degree of B.D. in the university of Douay in 1576, and soon afterwards returned to England upon the mission. On 17 July 1581 he was apprehended with Edmund Campion [q. v.] and John Colleton [q. v.], in the house of Mr. Yates at Lyford, Berkshire. He was conveyed to London with the other priests and committed to the Tower. On the testimony of two perjured witnesses he was convicted of complicity in the pretended conspiracy of Rheims and Rome, although he had never been in either of those cities. Sentence of death was pronounced 21 Nov. 1581. On 28 May 1582 he was executed with two other priests, John Shert and Robert Johnson. Between the time of their condemnation and execution they were examined in the Tower by the attorney- and solicitor-general, Popham and Egerton, and two civilians, Dr. Hammond and Dr. Lewis, in order to elicit from them opinions which might be considered treasonable in reference to the bull of Pope Pius V and the deposing power of the holy see. Forde was beatified by the decree of Pope Leo XIII, dated 29 Dec. 1886.

[Bridgewater's Concertatio Ecclesiæ Catholicæ, ff. 85 b, 86 b ; Challoner's Missionary Priests (1741), i. 77; Dodd's Church Hist. ii. 107; Douay Diaries, p. 423 ; Hist. del Glorioso Martirio di diciotto Sacerdoti (Macerata, 1585), p. 127; Raissius, Catalogus Christi Sacerdotum, p. 28 ; Simpson's Life of Campion, p. 220 seq. ; Stanton's Menology, p. 238 ; Stow's Annales (1615), p. 694; Tablet, 15 Jan. 1887, pp. 81, 82.]

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